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Author Interview with Tony Ross

In Author Interviews, On writing on January 31, 2014 at 8:00 am

Tony Ross

Today’s interview is with writer Tony Ross.  Tony is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). His first novel, “Victor,” was released in 2011 and is currently out of print. “Victor: The Reloaded Edition” was released in January 2013 with a few details and minor changes made to the original story. The sequel “Orion” was released in October of 2013.

1.     So tell us about your book.  Why did you write it and who is it targeted towards?

I have two books on the market right now: “Victor: The Reloaded Edition” and its sequel “Orion.” Both are supernatural/sci-fi thrillers, aimed primarily at younger adults who read those genres. Readers have compared my style to Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker and Stephen King. I’ve also drawn comparisons, at least with “Victor,” to Robert Ludlum’s “Bourne” series. The action and suspense probably appeal more to men, but I’ve heard good things from female readers too.

Victor“Victor” won a silver medal in the Readers’ Favorite 2013 International Award Contest. The story is set in 2040 in fictional Sunlight City, where choice is the only law and all things are permissible. The decisions of three people will influence the future of the world: a gifted assassin trying to hold together his fraying sanity, a brilliant scientist with a world-changing secret who must unlock the assassin’s mind in order to survive him, and a streetwise, energetic detective with secrets of his own.  All three are bound by the darkest of secrets. Only the truth will set them free.

“Orion” features a young man, David, protecting a frightened woman from a killer. Faced with a deadly ultimatum, trapped by the weather in an overcrowded hotel slowly boiling over with fear and mistrust, David must protect the woman, find and stop the killer… and confront the darkest secrets of his heart.

I write these crazy stories, believe it or not, to minister. I don’t write Christian fiction strictly for Christians. We’ve heard the message already. Not everyone will read a book that’s clearly about Jesus, salvation, or Christian living. But if I can work those things into a fast-paced and entertaining novel, maybe a reader who doesn’t know God will decide, “Y’know, maybe I need to look into Christianity a little more.” And maybe I can encourage the Christian readers to take their walk with God a little deeper, beyond religion to relationship.

2.       What were some of the biggest challenges in writing the book?

Time to write is always a bit difficult to come by. Between family, work, ministry, etc., there are only so many hours in a day. I wrote most of “Orion” sitting at the kitchen table while my homeschooling kids did their homework. Beyond that, turning off my internal editor is always a trick. I need to tell myself that writing a truly “rough” draft is okay. I sometimes get hung up on plot points and stop writing for a few days while I kick things around in my head.

3.       What advice would you give new novelists?

Number one, write. It doesn’t have to be the next great American novel. Just write. I’ve done poetry, articles, short stories… You can’t hone your craft without using it. God’s given you the desire and the ability. Take every opportunity you can to perfect it.

Number two, read. A lot. Find out what good writing is. Why did this best-selling novel stand out? What didn’t you like in that other novel? What would you do differently? Don’t copy anyone, but learn from their styles and develop your own. Every good writer is a student too. Don’t be afraid or too proud to learn from those who have gone before. Learn from their experience.

Number three, pray every time you sit down with pen, pencil or keyboard. What does God want you to write? Really look for His will. You might have a plan, but God’s is going to be better and ultimately more fulfilling.

Other than that, research your publishing options. There are plenty out there and not all are good. I spent thousands to publish the original version of “Victor” and was less than satisfied with the results. I pulled “Victor” off the market, revised a few things, and released it as “Victor: The Reloaded Edition” through a different publisher. This time I saved thousands and am much happier with the end result. Save yourself the heartache and do your research before you publish.

4.       Tell us about your journey of faith.  How did you become a Christian?

This is a long story. Let’s see if I can provide a Cliff’s Notes version. I walked away from God in my teenage years. I had a lot of anger, bitterness and hurt to work through. By the time I turned twenty-two in 1994 I was a depressed, suicidal alcoholic who expected to be dead or in prison by twenty-five. God put a young lady into my life at that time who invited me to church. At the time she’d asked, I’d hit rock bottom and had nothing left to lose.

I went with that young lady to Calvary Apostolic Church in Clintonville, Wisconsin. I found a church that prayed and worshiped unashamedly, preached directly from the Word of God and welcomed me and all my issues with open arms. Over the next several months, I repented of my sins, was baptized by immersion in Jesus’ name and was filled with the Holy Ghost, just like we find in Acts chapter 2. God took a life that was completely hopeless, flipped it around and gave me a new and living hope.

Fast forward to the present day. I’ve been married to that lovely young lady since 1996. I have five beautiful kids, two boys and three girls. I’m part of the ministry team at Calvary Apostolic and have preached there since 2004. God has really done great things for me and I’m looking forward to the rest of the journey.

5.       Who are some of your favorite authors and or books to read?

My bookshelf is fairly diverse. Supernatural thrillers are my favorite, but I enjoy fantasy, mystery, westerns, a little bit of everything. I’m a big fan of Frank Peretti. I have a lot of Ted Dekker on my shelf. Robert Liparulo, Bryan Davis, and Mike Dellosso are also among the ranks.

6.       Now that you’ve written the book what other projects if any are you working on?

I’m just underway on “Brimstone,” the third book in my series. I’ve got a fourth in mind that should finish out the series, but I’m contemplating a series of short and very affordable ebooks, 20,000 words or so, featuring my characters at different points in their lives, telling new stories or letting readers see other sides of them.

7.       When did you start writing?

Oh, I don’t like math questions… (Laughs) Tenth grade. This would be… 1987-88. My English teacher had us write a journal. The first week we introduced a character, the next a second character. The third week was conflict, and so on. Most of my classmates wrote a sentence or two, a paragraph tops. I was writing pages. By the end of the year I had a 140-page handwritten epic, which really wasn’t very good, but I was hooked. At the end of the year my teacher told me, “Tony, you have one assignment for the summer. Get published.” I finally was in 2009. I hope she’s not mad that I’m late.

Tony Ross was born in Shawano, Wisconsin in 1972. In addition to full time factory work, Tony has been part of the ministry team at Calvary Apostolic Church in nearby Clintonville since 2004. He was married in 1996 and has five children.

Tony does somehow still find time to write what he calls “thrillers for thinkers,” novels that not only entertain but invite the reader to contemplate deeper spiritual points. While a Christian thriller may seem like an oxymoron, Tony believes it’s all a matter of perspective

I want to thank Tony for allowing me to get to know him and for spending time with my readers.  If you want to learn more about him and his books you can check out his website here.

QT “I will always remember the screams-

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm

QT “I will always remember the screams–the untold billions of screams.” http://ow.ly/t2PZ3

4.5 stars! “I am absolutely in love wit

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2014 at 12:02 pm

4.5 stars! “I am absolutely in love with all things fallen angels right now and this book did not disappoint!” http://ow.ly/sZqe5

When the darkness is your best friend

In My two cents and Christian Opinion on January 26, 2014 at 7:49 pm

desperate days_t_nt

Ge 2:18 ¶ And the LORD God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

In going to Sunday morning service today, the pastor talked about breaking the out of the prison of loneliness.  I could really relate to this message, and there were a few thoughts that really stood out to me.

He talked about loneliness, and gave what I thought was a great definition.  He states that loneliness is the absence of or the intense longing for the companionship of people who really care for us and who long to be with us as much as we long to be with them.

Using his definition one can experience this in the multitude.  Loneliness is so undesirable, so contrary to the design of God, and so powerful a state that needs to be filled.  That even after God had created Adam, had given him a purpose, and placed him in an idealic environment where every material need could be satisfied he still lacked one thing to make his life complete—companionship.

It shows me that no matter what we gain in the world.  No matter how wealthy we become.  Our innate need for companionship is basic to who we are.  I learned from today’s lesson that solitary confinement which we have all heard of; is used as a punishment.  Now there is nothing new here, but think about that for a bit, and let that sink in.  Loneliness even within the prison system is used as a punishment.  Being alone, in isolation, lacking the comfort from a person who cares for you as much as you care for them, and who wants to be with you— is to be in a prison.  Think about that.

2_Vital Connections_TI now have a better understanding of such scriptures that say blessed are the peacemakers.  Peacemakers help reconcile people.  They fight against the trend that increases loneliness. Broken families increases loneliness, our living arrangements (suburban living I’m speaking of here.) can increase isolation and loneliness.  We plug our ears, and check into our iphones so we are not bothered, increasing our isolation.  Speaking of trends, one of the internets powerful abilities is its ability to help create community.  Often people do not understand how someone can spend hours online talking with people.  It is because so many of us are lonely.  Lonely in marriages, at work, in our various communities, and comes a technology that allows people to ‘connect’ with someone of like passions and who looks forward to seeing them when they come online.  It is easy once we understand how deep loneliness can be how many of can of us can fall victim to such entrapments, or on a positive note find companionship.

The pastor talked about how to circumvent this with natural remedies, build relationships with new people, family and friends.  I do not want to “repreach” his message.  Of course, the ultimate cure of the deep longing of our hearts is reconciliation with God, to connect with him and thereby empowering us to truly connect with others.

The forbidden fruit is nothing more than knowledge that we were not meant to experience.  Some fruit is vey tart and bitter.  Let not loneliness be something that prevents you from reconnecting with God, family, and friends.  Ask yourself who can you be a friend too to decrease the level of loneliness in their lives.  Which family members, which friend, can you reach out to?  If you realize you are alone.  Reach out to God, and ask him to reconnect with him, and then begin to make reconnections and new connections.  Above all, I encourage you to not let the darkness be your best friend.

D

5*’s”Bravo!” “Gripping” “powerful

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm

5*’s”Bravo!” “Gripping” “powerful”,”I was enthralled.”The reviews R in! http://ow.ly/sUH34 http://ow.ly/sUH76 http://ow.ly/i/4nRqB

Author Interview with Carole McDonnell

In Author Interviews, On writing on January 22, 2014 at 8:00 am

Carole McDonnell

Today I would like to welcome author Carole McDonnell, author of the book The Constant Tower and the Wind Follower.

Thanks for allowing me to interview you Carol.  So tell us about your book. 

My newest release is The Constant Tower.  It’s Christian spec-fic.  It’s set on a planet where at the rise of the third moon, humans get tossed across the planet.  There are towers and longhouses, which have to contend with this problem and clans with different kinds of technology.  The theme is about being stuck in one’s tribe but the main plot is about a young prince who wants to please his father and flee his tribe.  But who can flee in a world like this?  Where would you go?

What were some of the biggest challenges in writing the book?

The first was finishing it.  I tend to work on so many things all at once that actually finishing a project requires effort.  The second was my memory of my first book Wind Follower.  Folks either hated it or loved it.  They complained that it was too Christian or not Christian enough, or too complicated or too sexual.  It’s very hard to write a second book when the success of the first book is aways in your mind.

Any advice would you give new novelists?  

It depends on if you want to self-publish or not. If you are aiming to be published by a traditional publishing company, you have to write to please the editors and you have to fit into a specific niche.  If you self-publish, you can write whatever you want to.  However, the important thing is to write well.  Get a good group of friends who will critique you and be open to suggestions.

Tell us about your journey of faith. 

How did you become a Christian?  — I really don’t know.  My family loved Jesus, going to Church, and the Bible.  There was no time where I said, “I will be a Christian now.”  I was always a Christian, always loving the Bible since childhood.  But there are many times when I grew deeper in my commitment to and faith in Christ.

Constant TowerWho are some of your favorite authors and or books to read?  

The Bible, Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, Henry James, various British poets.  I read a lot of poetry and memoirs.

 Now that you’ve written the book what other projects if any are you working on?

I’m working on two novels, two non-fiction books, some short stories, and a screenplay. The novels are a contemporary Christian young adult novel called My Life as an Onion, an adult contemporary novel called The Daughters of Men. The non-fiction books are Blogging the Psalms, and A Fool’s Journey Through the Book of Proverbs.

Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?   

I always try to write about God’s love and about how cultural identification works with one’s faith.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Not really but I often write in a folklorist fairy-tale style.

How did you come up with the title?   

Wind Follower is about someone who follows God, who is the Breath of Life and the “Wind.”  The Constant Tower is about the search for the “constant tower” a place where one finds the true and constant God.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

In the first novel, Wind Follower, I wanted to talk about the problem First Nations have because Christianity was often brought by imperialistic nations who had conquered them. The second novel, Constant Tower, is about how religious, racial, and tribal groups often argue with themselves when they should be battling the demonic world.  In addition, we are thinking of the wrong people as enemies, wasting our strength, being tools of the demonic, when the end of time is so near upon us.

How much of the book is realistic?

I often think Fantasy is realistic.  More realistic than mainstream novels which don’t show spiritual or supernatural issues, more realistic than Science Fiction which is a false hope because so many futuristic events and inter-planetary space flight probably will not happen before Jesus comes.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Some of the events are based on my experiences but not that many.  In my contemporary WIP, however, there are many events that mirror my own life.  This has been a problem because it weighs down the story sometimes and I have to watch carefully lest I fill the book with grudges.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?  

I wouldn’t change anything but I would probably add some new stuff or clarified a few things. This happens a lot because one keeps thinking about the characters and the world.  I would also have proofed it a bit more to get rid of the typos.

I want to thank Carole for spending time with us today.  If you are interested in learning more feel free to check her out her writings at the following links.

 Fantasy Novel, The Constant Tower

Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction ebook

spirit fruit book

Wind Follower, a Christian multicultural fantasy

 

The Third Heaven gets another great revi

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2014 at 7:13 pm

The Third Heaven gets another great review, “I was completely enthralled”, check it out@ http://ow.ly/sOCa1

Inspiration Tuesday: Audiomachine – The Messenger

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2014 at 8:00 am

Today’s inspirational piece comes from Audiomachine and is entitled ‘The Messenger’.  A powerful piece of music that projects a regal ambiance.  Powerful drums and a rising crescendo elicits  a sweeping and epic piece that projects images of African plains, or the coming of age of a hero.

Listen.  You will be glad you did.

 

Don’t forget to sign up for my monthly newsletter to the be the first to receive updates on my latest work and special gifts and prizes.  Get you copy today!

3d Image

Controversy is Christian: The nature of sin and Cancer

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion, Uncategorized on January 20, 2014 at 11:22 am

Clean Slate A_T_NV

When I have talked to people about sin sometimes.  People often and perhaps rightly so.  View sin within the context of ones behavior.  They look at sin as something that is “right of wrong”.   And then inevitably we sometimes go down a path as to who defines right and wrong, and who has the authority to pronounce the offended parties actions as “right or wrong”.

I’m coming to realize that in the day that we live in.  Perhaps how we deal with the topic of sin needs to change.

Isa 5:20 states, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

We live in this day and age. A day where what once was established as clear and unmistakably evil, are now accepted lifestyle choices.  Where presumptive societal agreements about right and wrong has been turned on its head.  It’s simply hard to appreciate Jesus’ vicarious and atoning death without understanding the magnitude of why he had to die. To take our sins to the cross.  People don’t get or want to talk about sin.

So I’ve seen many of us, myself included continue to use the romans road method of talking to people about Christ, and I’m wondering maybe we need to adopt our methodology to the changes of the times.

But what’s the alternative?  I want to toss our for my readers consideration that perhaps instead of talking about sin in terms of right and wrong, we talk about sin as if we would talk about cancer.  And most of us definitely understand the subject of cancer and the subject of terminal illness.

What about framing it this way.  We have a disease.  It is called sin.  This disease is terminal, and it has outward symptoms that show it exists.  The bible has given us a diagnostic checklist for signs of this illness.  Gal 5:19 is a good starting point. But the Bible is replete with checklists that confirm if we are the carrier of this pathogen.

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

These things demonstrate sin in our life.  There are various signs and symptoms to determine if one has cancer.  But why does cancer scare us?  Because if it’s not treated we will die.  It’s real simple.  Its not complex.  It does not matter what type of cancer you have.  How pronounced it is.  All cancers unless checked have the ability to be fatal.  And that’s the point.  The wages of sin is death.  It doesn’t mater weather its foolish jesting, adultery, murder, gossip, eating from a tree that God told you not to.  A cancer cell is small thing that lives within you and feeds off of you.  It grows, and if left unchecked, there is no coming back from it.  Interesting—sounds a lot like sin to me.

All cancers (all sins)—they all lead to the same result, “on the day that thou eatest, thou shalt surely die.”  Period.  We get so hung up over the symptoms we miss the point of the Gospel. That Jesus came to give us LIFE.  To save us from our sins.  He’s the cure.

Maybe we as Christian have become so judgmental in our society that we need to take a medical approach to explaining the gospel.  Perhaps it will help us to see people in a different light.  Not as fornicators, homosexuals, drunkards, etc.  But as people who Jesus dies for and loves and whom he wants to see rescued from this fatal malignancy that has plagued humanity since the fall of man.

It’s about the fact that the whole human race has been infected with a deadly spiritual pathogen that left unchecked is 100% fatal to the carrier.  Adam was patient zero and only the blood of Jesus possess the antibody needed to save us from what is the inevitable death that awaits us all.  It doesn’t matter how you acquired sin.  Where it happened.  Weather your sin is “liver sin”, “breast sin” Bone marrow sin”.  All that matters is that you have it.  And once you realize you have it, the question becomes what do you do next.

Just my two cents.

Feel free to comment I love to hear from my readers.  Also don’t forget to check out my latest novel. I just received a 5 star review that called the work “speculative fiction at its finest.”  Check out what all the fuss is about here.

Resource Monday: The 99 designs logo store

In Great Resources, Its resource Monday! on January 20, 2014 at 8:00 am

99 designs

Every Monday I try to bring to the audience helpful tips that will assist my fellows writers.

Today I would like to introduce a wonderful store that I have recently come into knowledge of.  For those of you have followed me you might know that I have used 99designs in the past to find the graphic artist for my current cover of my novel.  99 designs allows you to essentially find a freelance artist who will bid against other artists to design your work.  It’s a exceptional mechanism to obtain professional help at affordable prices.

What I have recently discovered is that 99desings has a store.  If you are like me you might have started to create a publishing business, if you plan to self publish.  So if that’s the case, have you thought what your logo will be?  Well let’s say that your budget doesn’t afford you the opportunity to have a logo created from scratch.  Well the 99 design stores allows you to browse their selection of logos, and purchase them for 99 dollars.  Per their website…

99designs1. Choose a logo you like

We have 40553 unique logos to choose from, all crafted by our experienced community of designers. All logos cost just $99, or if the logo has not been purchased before, you can buy it exclusively and own the full rights to the logo for an extra $199. More about the license agreements.

2. Our designers customize the logo for you

Once you’ve found a logo you like, let us know what customizations you’d like and we’ll get our experienced logo designers to do it for you. More on the customization process.

3. 24 hours later, it’s ready for review!

Within 24 hours, you’ll be emailed your customized logo.  You then accept the revision or request further changes if it’s not quite right. Logos are supplied in the standard industry formats of JPEG & EPS. More about what you get.

It’s a great service, and I plan shortly to utilize it myself to brand my publishing company.

Take a look-see!  I think you will be pleasantly surprised with what you find!